John Barnes reckons Steven Gerrard’s scintillating run at Rangers is playing an enormous part in the current chaos at Celtic.

The Ibrox team have piled the pressure onto their Glasgow rivals with a blistering start to the campaign.

Rangers are 11 points clear in the title race, into the last eight of the Betfred Cup, and on course for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Gerrard has manufactured a 23-game unbeaten run since the term got underway and Barnes says that has as much to do with the unrest around Parkhead as any Hoops slump.

Barnes cited an example of his own experiences in Scotland when, despite losing just one of his opening 13 matches at the helm in 1999, he was still placed under severe pressure and faced criticism as Dick Advocaat’s side were surged ahead.

The Englishman reckons Gerrard’s hot form is sparking the worry across the city as he explained: “That’s always been the case. Even from when I was there.

“Rangers had won the league the year before and Celtic had won it two years earlier.

“When I went to Celtic, I thought it was an accident waiting to happen because of my time there.

“In the first 13 games, I had lost one before Henrik Larsson broke his leg, but I was still getting criticised and getting a lot of abuse.

“We had won 11 games out of 13 and scored a lot of goals, so I thought if I all of a sudden go through a sticky patch, it’s going to be horrendous.

“That had more to do with the fact Rangers had won all of their games.

“Had I done what I did and Rangers had lost three or four games as well, then, maybe, it wouldn’t have been as apparent.

“The fact is Celtic are where they are now and Rangers have done what they have done.

“Celtic could have had the exact same results, but if Rangers had lost three or four games, they could have been two or three points ahead with two games in hand.

“Rangers could have been out of Europe as well and the pressure would not have been as strong (on Celtic) as it is now.

“Of course, the fans would not have been happy with losing results, but it really in terms of how well the opposition are playing that determines how you feel.”

Gerrard has slowly built his stock at Ibrox and has put his team into a strong position to finally clinch silver.

Although there have been no trophies through his opening two seasons at the club while Celtic have ruled the roost, the Light Blues are on the right tracks.

Barnes says that is testament to patience within the boardroom at Rangers as he said: “What this has shown is that if you have belief and support a manager because in his first year they didn’t come anywhere near winning the league.

“Look at Rangers managers of the past, namely the two or three before Steven, the fact they hadn’t got closer to Celtic meant they were only given one year and they sacked them.

“Whereas with Steven they said, 'it doesn’t matter whether we win, how close we get to Celtic, we believe in this project and Steven'.

“The second year they got closer and here we are with the belief they now have and how competitive they are.

“Steven has done an incredible job, however, they have supported him in trusting him even when things didn’t start off particularly well.

“It started off as well as could be expected. They shouldn’t have been getting anywhere near Celtic anyway, but because they accepted it was a project and stuck with it, you can see the fruition of that.

“It’s a lesson to any club who gets a manager and they believe in him. What that does is show the players that this manager is the one we believe in whether you perform or not. And if you don’t perform, we are going to change you, and not the manager.

“Whereas at other clubs, and maybe even Celtic, it’s a situation now where we think maybe the solution is to change the manager.”

Naturally, as an ex-Liverpool hero, Barnes often gets asked about Gerrard heading back to the club where he had a phenomenal playing career.

He’s sure he can do it one day, but says it’s all about timing.

Asked if it could happen in the short term, he said: “Not if Celtic catch them and they finish three or four points behind. If we say the (Gerrard) stars align, that means winning the league, or doing the double or the treble or whatever.

“That’s a possibility, but it’s the same for any manager.

“It also doesn’t mean that, if they don’t win the league, he’s not good enough to manage Liverpool either.

“As to whether it’ll be straight from Rangers to Liverpool, especially as Jurgen Klopp is still there and we don’t know how long he will be.

“If Jurgen Klopp stays for two more years and Rangers win it this year and finish second next year, is Steven going to be the man?

“Unfortunately, football is about what happens in the moment.

“But I’m sure Steven has the qualities to manage Liverpool further down the line, definitely.”

John Barnes spoke to Football Pass. A new digital service for fans in Scotland set up to support those that need help via partnerships with charities that support children across food, education and health.